The Emergence and Widening of Ethnic Divide in the Malaysian Educational System

The existence of an ethnic divide is a common problem in multiethnic societies, more so when these societies are straddled with contradictions reflected in their socioeconomic and political composition and configuration. The existence of an ethnic divide in the educational sector is most unfortunate since one of the fundamental purposes of schooling in multiethnic societies is to achieve a common process of socialisation and enculturation among the different ethnic group to achieve a strong sense of social cohesion. While Malaysia has aspired to provide a common or uniform system of schooling for the different ethnic groups since Independence, such an aspiration was however compromised by the co-existence of alternative pathways of education that are divided along ethnic lines. There are four dimensions underpinning these ethnic divisions, namely linguistic, preferential, religious and class. This monograph explores the emergence and subsequent developments of these alternative pathways of education and their impact on Malaysia’s nation-building process.

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The existence of an ethnic divide is a common problem in multiethnic societies, more so when these societies are straddled with contradictions reflected in their socioeconomic and political composition and configuration. The existence of an ethnic divide in the educational sector is most unfortunate since one of the fundamental purposes of schooling in multiethnic societies is to achieve a common process of socialisation and enculturation among the different ethnic group to achieve a strong sense of social cohesion. While Malaysia has aspired to provide a common or uniform system of schooling for the different ethnic groups since Independence, such an aspiration was however compromised by the co-existence of alternative pathways of education that are divided along ethnic lines. There are four dimensions underpinning these ethnic divisions, namely linguistic, preferential, religious and class. This monograph explores the emergence and subsequent developments of these alternative pathways of education and their impact on Malaysia’s nation-building process.

 

Publisher: SIRD

Paperback

2015

ISBN: 9789670630847